Vodafone investors looking for higher bid for Verizon Wireless stake

29 April 2013 | Kavit Majithia


Six major Vodafone investors have reportedly said the touted $100 billion valuation for its stake in Verizon Wireless is not high enough.

It is thought a figure close to at least $120 billion could see Vodafone part with its 45% stake in the profitable US joint venture, after reports indicated last week that Verizon had hired advisors to prepare a $100 billion bid.

The six shareholders own an estimated 1.3 billion Vodafone shares between them, and it is thought they would also want to push for a full merger with Verizon.

Vodafone is reluctant to sell its stake in Verizon Wireless because it would leave the company with too much exposure to European markets, and it would also take away its most profitable entity.

Contrary to rumours last month, Verizon has said it is not interested in a full merger with Vodafone, but has confirmed its intentions to make a full takeover of the joint venture.

Reuters reports that Vodafone investors received a £2.4 billion dividend from its stake in Verizon Wireless in 2012, and passed £1.5 billion to its shareholders, outlining the importance of the US entity.

Vodafone has operations in several recession hit countries, including Italy, Spain and Portugal, which is why shareholders are looking for a higher price of between $120 billion and $135 billion.

Vodafone’s entire market capitalisation stands presently at approximately $146 billion.